I am continually amazed at God's goodness and mercy as He uses our devastation for His glory. I went to a women's retreat this weekend. There were many women from our small little church there. We came guarded, shy, and protective. We left with our hearts open and our hands and our faces lifted up. Many of these women were brave, opened up and shared old and new wounds and received healing from the Great Physician. The strong rallied around the weak. The weak were encouraged and began the process of forgiveness. We left encouraged that God IS working in our lives and He IS setting captives free from their heavy chains of bitterness and unforgiveness. I saw strongholds of shame be broken. I was able to share how God has erased my own shame for my child's failures.
I go to church with these women almost every Sunday. Why is it I did not know their pain? Why is it that we don't feel safe sharing with others. One word I heard over and over was "judgment". We live in a small community, they have felt judgment and so they shy back. They hide. They numb their pain in unhealthy ways.
Why must we judge others for their mistakes or for their children's mistakes? God help us!!! We need each other. The enemy's strategy is to trick us into thinking no one would accept us if they only knew what our family is going through. Every person in our church has a story. Some are worse than others, but pain is pain. It is all relative.
It is so easy in group settings to do "safe" prayer requests like asking for someone else's healing. Physical healing is safe. But what about spiritual and emotional healing?
As we went around the room and asked for prayer requests, we started the typical physical healings, at the end, one lone lady (not even from our church) asked for something personal. It was like an avalanche. All of a sudden, people were sharing some terrible things they and their families were going through. It just took one person being vulnerable.
We were given two gifts:
1) We know the person sitting in the pew in front of us is struggling. They aren't perfect and they are hurting. Now we have the privilege of walking beside them, encouraging and praying for them.
2) We get to refresh others with the refreshing we ourselves have received. We are the ones blessed!
Are we called to be safe or take risks? Are we called to keep our testimonies to ourselves or are we called to share them? God has given them to us as a gift. Be wise and never glorify sin, when you share. But we need to rip these perfect "Christian" masks off our face and start being real. That is where the healing begins.
Take a risk and be vulnerable.
See what God does with it!